Over the past few years, Los Angeles has become one of the fastest growing technology hubs in the country. The booming industry was never more apparent than this week at the third annual LA Tech Summit, hosted by Cornerstone, attended by almost 1,000, and opened with a keynote from our CEO Adam Miller about the unique role and opportunities for tech in the sprawling metropolis.
Miller noted that a lot has changed since Cornerstone first hosted this summit: we are now seeing a second generation of technology companies in Southern California, companies that are able to grow to much larger scale. The ecosystem will only get bigger from here, he argues, thanks to three coinciding factors in L.A.: (1) a willing investor base, (2) experienced talent in all aspects of technology (Big Data, e-commerce, B2B, cloud, media, and more) and (3) experienced entrepreneurs willing to advise start-ups.
Maybe the best part about building a technology business in L.A., Miller noted? When you’re having a crappy day, you can always go down to the beach.
Building a Community
The day was full of insights from venture capitalists, business leaders and entrepreneurs, as speakers and panelists shared advice and reflected on the latest tech innovations in both the local and global tech communities. The industries and trends covered were vast and varied — from e-commerce to fintech to entertainment and more.
J.B. and Tony Pritzker of the venture firm Pritzker Group discussed their move into Los Angeles by noting how far the ecosystem has come in the time they’ve been investing in L.A. tech. "One of the most exciting things you can do is help build a community," argued J.B.
Later, Greylock Partners’ Sarah Tavel made the case that the key to making L.A.’s tech ecosystem something special comes down to two things: (1) continuing to recruit talented people (away from Silicon Valley, New York and elsewhere) and (2) doubling down on the specific domains of expertise that are working in SoCal, like the emerging virtual reality sector ("L.A. is going to crush it," she enthused).
Weren't able to attend this year's summit, or missed out on a panel? Read on for highlights from the event, follow @CornerstoneInc on Twitter and join the conversation with #LATechSummit!
The Thriving LA Tech Scene
As expected, much of the event focused on both the progress and future potential of technology in LA. Traditionally known for its fortitude in media and entertainment, the city's thriving tech scene has quickly opened up opportunities for new industries to flourish. But while tech biz is experiencing much of the same success as show biz, the LA tech community hasn't adopted the dog-eat-dog mindset of Hollywood — several speakers emphasized the supportive and collaborative nature of the community.
.@amiller29 #techla special because of willingness to act like small community, support startups #LATechSummit pic.twitter.com/etB2fbZBAl
— Michelle Haworth (@MichelleHaworth) November 17, 2015
@amiller29 #LATechSummit the future for LA Tech is looking very rosy. Companies will scale and exits are ballooning
— Mark Goldin (@markgoldin) November 17, 2015
LA won't be known for just one thing in tech. It has everything! Retention science, manufacturing, enterprise, and media! #LATechSummit
— TechZulu (@techzulu) November 17, 2015
Advice for Entrepreneurs
With an audience full of both aspiring and newly minted tech entrepreneurs, the seasoned founders, executives and investors on stage were glad to share their best advice and biggest lessons on finding success in LA. The advice spanned the gamut throughout the day, but much of the guidance came down to being a great leader, not just developing a great idea.
Loved this #LATechSummit chat on how making documentaries/successful businesses are the same: authentic connection! pic.twitter.com/gDolv2K1BJ
— Elvis Ha (@elvis_ha) November 18, 2015
Pritzker: "Do well and do good at the same time." Couldn't agree more. #LATechSummit
— David S Williams III (@DSWIII) November 17, 2015
@jerryjao "Early on in the business, it doesn't matter what software you're selling... They're buying YOU." Dude crushed. #LATechSummit
— KaÃ¤re Wagner (@Kaare_Wagner) November 17, 2015
Turning Dreams to Reality
In addition to providing great advice to entrepreneurs, yesterday's LA Tech Summit offered a lucky few the chance to win $5,000 and expert counsel in a "Shark Tank" pitching competition. Moderated by tech entrepreneur Jason Nazar, and judged by a panel of tech influencers, four up-and-coming startups went head-to-head to turn their dream into a reality. Congratulations to Alice Taylor, CEO of MakieLab, an entertainment play space for young people that allows users to download and print 3D dolls, who took home the prize!
The podium awaits at #LATechSummit. About to pitch @Sensay on stage at the shark tank pic.twitter.com/gQHGyJFouy
— Crystal Rose (@crystalrose) November 17, 2015
Congrats @makielab on winning the 2015 #LATechSummit 'Shark Tank' competition! https://t.co/0haRNXZhT4 pic.twitter.com/ww9fZHud8y
— LA Tech Summit (@LATechSummit) November 19, 2015
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